Walter Craig Award

Walter E. Craig Distinguished Services Award

Awarded to the attorney who has manifested adherence to the highest principles and tradition of the legal profession and service to the public in the community in which he/she lives.

Nominations are due March 1st and are to include the individual's name; firm if applicable; address & other contact information; the award for which they are being nominated and contact information of the nominators; a summary of their characteristics, experiences, and service that qualifies them for the award; and support letters from others may be included. The nomination packets should be sent to The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, ATTN: Kevin S. Ruegg, 4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, AZ 85016 or email to [email protected].

Awards Acknowledged in conjunction with the Foundation participation in the annual Arizona State Bar Convention.

Submit Nomination
Learn more about the luncheon where our awardees will be recongized!

2024 Awardee


Matthew Feeney

Matt’s unwavering commitment to serving others is a keystone of his character and is demonstrated by his many contributions to the legal profession and our community needs.

In addition to a distinguished legal career as a leading corporate and securities attorney in the Southwest for more than three decades, Matt served as chair of Snell & Wilmer between 2015-2023. He approached leadership with a service mindset consistent with the firm’s Credo, which Matt helped to develop decades ago, and focused on service to clients, the community, and each other. Matt led by example, and encouraged others to do the same. Today, Matt continues to serve as a leader within the firm and our community.

As a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, Matt challenges firm leaders, attorneys, and staff to think about how we can do better. Under his leadership, the firm flourished in its work to address complex DEI issues within the workplace and in the legal profession. Whether it is creating community for first-generation attorneys and LGBTQ+ individuals or finding ways to better support diverse attorneys and their practices, Matt’s support is instrumental in the progression of these endeavors.

In the community, Matt also led a wide range of charitable groups unrelated to the law. These groups include the Phoenix Symphony, the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), St. Joseph the Worker Job Service for the Homeless, and the Notre Dame Law School Advisory Council. Matt’s musical group Feeney/Winthrop annually performs for the benefit concert in support of St. Joseph the Worker Job Services. In doing so, the group has raised tens of thousands of dollars for this organization. In 2023, Matt was selected for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Service Above Self Award. The award recognized an individual who serves others without expectation of reward, whose pattern of service is to give unselfishly to their fellow man with thoughtfulness and helpfulness while putting the needs of others before their own. Recipients of this award look beyond themselves to serve fellow citizens through a continued commitment and philanthropic efforts to better the community. The award is a true reflection of Matt’s distinguished character.

2023 Awardee


Patricia "Trish" Refo

Trish began her service to the organized bar as a very young lawyer. She became active in the ABA Section of Litigation and rose through its leadership ranks to serve in 2003-04 as the Section's Chair, the fifth woman lawyer elected to that prestigious position. Her national initiative on The Vanishing Trial brought focus to the dwindling number of state and federal trials in America.

Trish is also a renowned litigator and has been a partner in two of our nation's great law firms, the Chicago office of Jenner & Block and the Phoenix office of Snell & Wilmer, the latter for more than 25 years. She has tried and litigated cases across the country. She has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Southwest Super Lawyers, and Who's Who Legal Commercial Litigation, and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal.

Trish's commitment to legal services and pro bono work has always been strong. She personally litigated prisoner's rights matters in both class and individual actions and represented a death row inmate in post-conviction challenges to his death sentence. She regularly performs intake work at the Volunteer Lawyers' Project in Phoenix, and she has volunteered with ABA Free Legal Answers, answering online legal questions from low-income Arizonans. She personally spent a week on the Texas border representing an asylum seeker through the Pro Bar program and championing the needs of this underserved community. She twice chaired ABA Day in Washington, the ABA's annual lobbying effort on Capitol Hill to support adequate funding for the Legal Service Corporation. As ABA President, she spoke at multiple LSC-sponsored events designed to expand access to justice and support the legal services community.

Trish was the 144th President of the American Bar Association and only the second Arizonan to ever hold the position. In the midst of the pandemic, the White House reached out to Trish as the ABA President to address the tsunami of evictions expected once moratoria were lifted. Trish spearheaded the ABA's response and assisted to create a network of bar leaders, LSC directors and government officials to address the crisis. At the White House Eviction Prevention Summit, Trish was asked to lead the only panel discussion on eviction mitigation and diversion programs.

Ms. Refo’s list of accomplishments, her leadership, her commitment to legal aid and mentoring is astounding and we are honored to recognize her with the Craig award.

2022 Awardee


Lillian O. Johnson

Lillian has shown her commitment to “access to justice for all” throughout her professional career, working with low and moderate-income families who struggle to afford access to justice on their own.   

Lillian has been the Executive Director of Community Legal Services since 1982. The largest civil legal aid program in the state, CLS provides legal assistance, advice, representation, self-help material and legal education to  underserved communities in Arizona. She also serves in the national legal aid community as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.   

Lillian’s efforts in promoting equal access to justice have garnered plenty of attention and recognition. She was honored as the William E. Morris Institute for Justice’s Hero Award in 2014, inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and was an honoree and featured person of the Phoenix Chapter of Jack and Jill America, the Phoenix Chapter of the Links, and the Gamma Mu Chapter of Phoenix in 2014. In 2011, President Obama honored her as a White House Champion of Change.

Her career has been devoted to serving the marginal, mentoring legal aid attorneys across the nation and building a strong legal aid agency to serve all Arizonans.


2021 Awardee


Hon. Maurice Portley

It is an impossible task to summarize Judge Portley.  He has devoted decades of his life to public service.  From serving in the Army and National Guard to his time both on the Superior Court and Court of Appeals to spending his retirement working with the Casey Foundation, Judge Portley is model public servant.  He has served and led numerous committee and initiatives to make the legal system better and specifically the juvenile system more just.  

Mo has been a tireless and effective advocate for juvenile justice reform working with committees from each branch of the state government, civic organizations, and non-profit entities.  He works to influence public policy and encourage long-lasting improvements to the safety and success of children, families and the communities where they live.

Judge Portley is also known as a stellar attorney and judge bringing ‘laser focus’ to analyzing and resolving critical legal issues and impartiality in applying the rule of law to each case.  Judge Winthrop stated, “I can’t think of any other judge with whom I have served that was more collegial or more open to the opinion and concerns of others.” Judge Maurice Portley has demonstrated a lifetime to serving the public, mentoring colleagues and bettering our legal system.

2020 Awardee


Prof. Andrew Silverman

Andy’s commitment to justice and to low-income Arizonans is unparalleled. Since becoming a lawyer in 1969, he has never charged a client for his work. The list of wrongfully imprisoned men and women freed through Andy’s work is long.

His time spent assisting other access to justice institutions is also long.  In In 1976, Andy took a leave of absence from his U of A professorship to be Executive Director of Community Legal Services in Phoenix for three years. He has been on Southern Arizona Legal Aid’s board since 1978 and served as its President from 1983-1988. Andy has been a leader in the Arizona Capital Representation Project, Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, the Asylum Project of Arizona, Barrios Unidos Land Trust, Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, the Arizona Justice Project, William E. Morris Institute for Justice, No More Deaths, Sanctity of Life, People Against Executions, Primavera Foundation, Southern Arizona People’s Law Center, Tucson Housing Trust Fund, and the United Way.

 Andy served the University of Arizona in many capacities, including: President of the University Chapter of American Association of University Professors, Chair of the University of Arizona Committee of Eleven, member of the Executive Board of the University’s Faculty Association, served in the Faculty Senate including being a member of the Senate’s Executive Committee, and member of the Presidential Search Committee.

Andy’s commitment has changed thousands of lives for the better.

2019 Awardee


Hon. Lawrence Winthrop

“His humble and quiet disposition lays the stable foundation for a tenacious resolve to genuinely improve access to justice.”

        – Kevin Groman.

 The quote above from Mr. Groman’s support letter for Judge Winthrop’s nomination truly embodies the character of Larry’s work as an attorney and judge.  His leadership, professionalism and problem solving abilities made him the perfect choice for the first and current chair of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. 

 A former partner of Snell & Wilmer, Judge Winthrop has accumulated many accolades and served in many leadership roles in his still prominent career.  He was the past president of the Arizona Association of Defense Counsel, Vice-Chair of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct,  Chair of the Attorney Regulation Advisory Committee, and Chair of the Attorney Discipline and Probable Cause Committee .  He has served as chair on the Arizona Bar Foundation’s board and has been chair of the Valley of the Sun School’s board.  He was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2002 and has served as the Chief Judge there for two terms.  In 2012, the Arizona Supreme Court honored Judge Winthrop as its Judge of the year.  Three years later, the State Bar of Arizona presented him with the James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award.

As an attorney and later judge, many young lawyers have looked to Judge Winthrop for mentorship.  Because of his patience, sense of fairness, integrity and professionalism, he brings out the best in those around him inspiring them to become better lawyers and judges and volunteers.



Patrick McGroder


Don Bivens


Hon. Peter Cahill


William Hardin


Neal Kurn


Barbara Dawson

Justice Michael Ryan

Robert Schmitt

Prof. Robert Bartels

Bill Jones

Michael Flood

William Haug

Ted Schmidt

Daniel J. McAuliffe (Snell & Wilmer, LLP., Phoenix)

Paul Eckstein (Brown & Bain, P.A., Phoenix)

Peter D. Baird (Lewis & Roca LLP, Phoenix)

Mark Harrison (Osborn Maledon PA, Phoenix)

Larry Hammond (Osborn Maledon PA, Phoenix)

Grace McIlvain (Haralson, Miller, Pitt & McAnally)

Kenneth J. Sherk (Fennemore Craig)

John J. Bouma (Snell & Wilmer)

D. Burr Udall (Chandler, Tullar, Udall & Redhair)

Hon. Thomas Tang

Edward Jacobson (Snell & Wilmer)

Ashby I. Lohse

Calvin H. Udall (Fennemore Craig)

John P. Frank (Lewis & Roca)

Elias M. Romley (Sole Practitioner)

Charles E. Ares

H. Karl Mangum

Philip E. Von Ammon

Mark Wilmer



4201 N 24 STREET
STE. 210

Follow Us